C3-T1 posterior cervical decompression/fusion surgery coming up...But I have no pain

Hi to all,

My husband is 73 years old and is booked to have C3-T1 posterior cervical decompression/fusion surgery. I am very apprehensive since my husband only has balance issues.  Everywhere I look states that pain is the major issue. He was diagnosed with cervical spinal myelopathy from the MRI. HIs symptoms are: balance issues, shuffles when he walks, right foot sometimes drops and he veers to the right at times.

If anyone has any imput I would greatly appreciate it.





  • LizLiz Posts: 2,041

    Welcome andy46, we’re glad you’re here!

    While you’re waiting for a reply to your first post, please take a few moments to review the Code of Conduct and FAQ section, located under Forum Tools. There you will find important information about posting in the forum and helpful tips for new members.

    Have you seen the Spinal Fusion Health Center on Spine-health? Spinal fusion surgery comes in many forms, and you’ll find a number of doctor-authored resources here, including Types of Spinal FusionPostoperative Care for Spinal Fusion Surgery, and tips to help Maximize the Ability to Heal After Spine Fusion Surgery. It’s a great resource for anyone considering spinal fusion. I hope you find it helpful.

    Again, welcome to the Veritas Health Forum.


    Veritas Health Forum Moderator

  • Hi Andy46,

    Spinal myelopathy indicates that there is some compression/signal interference on the spinal cord itself.  It causes balance issues, right foot dropping, etc.  If this type of nerve injury goes on for a long time, the damage can become permanent.  However, if that pressure is relieved and the spinal cord can go back to operating as normal, the symptoms of dropped foot and balance will go away.  Many people have symptoms of pain, weakness, and numbness in the arms/shoulders radiating down to the fingers for cervical spine issues.  Some people have this in their legs for the lumbar spine issues.  This is generally the result of a nerve root (that exits from the spinal canal) getting compressed as it exits the vertebrae structure.  Sometimes, a bulging or herniated disc loses disc height and the vertebrae compress a bit, causing the exit spots for a nerve root  to get narrow.  So, a decompression restores that space.  Sometimes, you have a bulging or herniated disc that pushes backwards into the spinal canal, compressing the spinal canal.  Then, the disc needs to be removed and the temporary spacer is put in place while your body creates a permanent fusion.  The fusion basically is your bone forming around that temporary spacer (which might be your own bone, a donor bone, or a plastic type cage) so that you have a permanent "decompression" after some time.  In your husband's case, the surgery will release the pressure on his spinal canal so that it can be restored.  If he does not have the arm/shoulder pain, then your husband is likely having only spinal canal issues and not nerve root issues.  If his doctor says that he needs to have surgery, then he should follow his doctor's recommendations., especially since it involves his spinal cord.

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  • memerainboltmemerainbolt IndianaPosts: 4,570


    I am so sorry your husband is having to go through this. If he does have surgery, below are some links that will help you both out. Also, please join us in Surgery Buddies. Below is the link, just choose which month and start a discussion.

    How to Prep Your Home for Spine Surgery Recovery Video

    Essential Items for Back Surgery Recovery

    Postoperative Care for Spinal Fusion Surgery,

    If you would like any other information, please let us know. Please remember to take care of yourself too. Sometimes the caregivers are left out, but not here. We will support you as well as him.

    Take care and keep us posted,
    Veritas Health Forum Moderator

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